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Community and Voluntary, Emergency Response, News, Search & Rescue, Weather

Effort to recover body from cliff base

Cliffs-of-Moher-Search-160315-1

Members of the Garda Water Unit and the Irish Coast Guard at Doolin Pier last night – Photo: © Pat Flynn 2015

A renewed effort to recover a body from the base of the Cliffs of Moher is expected to be undertaken today.

The alarm was raised at around lunchtime when a body was spotted at the base of the 700 foot hight cliffs beneath the main viewing platform. The circumstances of the tragedy were not clear last night.

Gardaí and members of the Doolin unit of the Irish Coast Guard went to the scene to investigate the report at around 1.30pm. They quickly confirmed that a body could be seen on the rocky shoreline below.

Conditions at the time were too rough to attempt a recovery operation by boat so search teams could only assess the situation from the cliff top.

The Doolin team have abseiled the cliffs several times previously to recover bodies however yesterday’s weather didn’t allow members to mount such an effort which would have also taken several hours.

The Garda Water Unit was contacted and notified of the situation and an initial plan to mount a recovery operation early today (Tuesday) was devised but later scrapped.

Garda divers opted instead to travel to Clare last night (Monday) and attempt to reach the body at low tide. It had been feared the body could be washed out to sea if any effort wasn’t made to recover it.

Photo: © Pat Flynn 2015

The Garda Water Unit at Doolin Pier last night – Photo: © Pat Flynn 2015

While a piece of clothing is understood to have been discovered at the cliffs no form of identification was found with it.

With no indication who the person is, gardaí could only wait until all visitors and staff had left the cliffs to see whether any vehicle was left in the car park. It’s understood that no vehicle was found in the area. It’s also understood that no person had been reported up to last night.

Divers from the Garda Water Unit set out from Doolin Pier last night at around 8.20pm on board an Irish Coast Guard boat which was accompanied by a second RIB (rigid inflatable boat).

The Shannon based search and rescue helicopter also assisted in the operation by using it’s powerful spotlights to illuminate the scene as the divers attempted to swim ashore. Land teams also marked the location of the body from the cliff top using lighting and flares.

Garda divers, tethered to the rescue boats by safety ropes, swam ashore but were unable to recover the body.

The operation was stood down at around 9.50pm while a decision is expected to be made early today (Tuesday) on when another recovery effort can be safely undertaken.

Gardaí would only confirm that a body had been seen at the base of the cliffs and that there’s no indiction yet who it might be.

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